We are building a deck because our trapeza is too small.

We have a good “problem”. We built a small temple with an even smaller hall because that was all we could afford, and started worshipping in it June 2011. We have grown enough to make it impossible to fit everybody in our tiny trapeza (church hall).

We have decided to build a covered deck outside the hall, since adding to the building is way out of our means right now. This will more than double our usable dining space. It is important to have more dining space, since a very important part of our community life is that we always eat a meal (not just donuts and coffee!) together after liturgy.

We plan to add fans, heaters, misters and plastic sheeting, like you see in some restaurants, so we can use the deck year round.

We have a donation to build the deck, but will need to raise funds for the absolutely necessary roof, tables, etc. The deck will be about 7 or 8 thousand, and a shingled roof will be about 9 thousand (we are exploring a canvas roof to reduce costs). We will also need to get fans, tables, etc.

Would you help us?

Pictures of design included.

Personalizing the prodigal son. Adam’s nature was made godlike. Commentary on 2 Matins hymns, Second Sunday of Great Lent.

In an ongoing series of commentary on the service texts between Vespers and Matins at the vigil, we look at the Parable of the prodigal son, which the church explores in a very personal way throughout all of Great Lent. So should we look at this parable in a very personal way, and especially the canon at matins gives us an example of how to do this, such as:

“I fed on dark and swinish thoughts when, like the Prodigal, I left Thee, O Savior, and went into a far country; but now I cry: I have sinned; save me, for fervently I run for refuge to Thy tender mercy”. (Second Sunday of Great Lent, Matins, Ode 3)

We discuss what sin REALLY is – it is not just things we do or do not do, and it almost always is a product of our thoughts, attitudes, disposition. We also explore the beautiful, intricate and dogmatic theology in one of the theotokia of the matins canon:

“Adam’s nature was made godlike, O Virgin, when without undergoing change God took flesh within thy womb; and we who were deceived of old by the hope of becoming gods, have been set free from the ancient condemnation” (Second Sunday of Great Lent, Theotokion, Matins, Ode 3)

Salvation defined:”If any man enter in he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture” Saint Gregory Palamas and the healing of the paralytic borne of four.

The reading for St Gregory Palamas today contains a beautiful “definition” of salvation:”If any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” This is true freedom, where the will is able to always choose the right way. We explore how we can obtain this kind of freedom, which the world does not understand, using examples from both Gospels read today.

Saint Gregory Palamas and the healing of the paralytic borne of four. The answer to the question: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Today, brothers and sisters, is ANOTHER Sunday of Orthodoxy. Last week we had one which is proclaimed to be the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” or the “Triumph of Orthodoxy”, but today is also a Sunday of Orthodoxy, shall we say, a Synaxis of Orthodoxy.

For various feasts we have a Synaxis right afterwards. For instance, after the Baptism of Christ is the Synaxis of Saint John the Baptist. It means gathering, and it means the people that were involved in that feast are then celebrated. The Synaxis of the Theotokos, is after the Nativity of the Savior. I told you before that the Sunday of All Saints is like a Synaxis of Pascha because, because of Pascha, we can BECOME saints.

And this also is like a Synaxis of Orthodoxy, a gathering together of those that have realized what was promised last week.

There was a promise made. Did you hear it? It is a very important promise. It is one that you must remember again and again. Because if you are anything like me, you get discouraged about things, either about the way things are in the world or about you.

Nathaniel says: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” And Philip says: “Come and see.” …

I tell you, the answer to that question is in every service, is in every gospel, and should be in every day that you live.